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#272788 - 12/07/15 07:55 PM How exercise changed my life  
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cstavaas Offline
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Hi! First-time poster here!

First, a little back story. I never thought i would become #oneofthosepeople who work out, but well, here I am. I'm a 30 year old PhD canditate in organic chemistry from Norway.

I've always hated physical excercise since i was little. My gym teacher was a sadist and he gave me a really hard time because i was so incredible uncoordinated and bad at every sport he threw at me. He made me hate excercise with a passion.

Over the last 10 years I've gotten gradually worse back problems, and my health has been deteriorating. I could not walk up the stairs of my home without getting exhausted and I had very limited movement of my neck and spine. I ate little and I ate a lot of junk. Here's a recap and a picture that show my posture. As you can see i could not even stand upright and stretch my back. For the last 5-6 years I had not gotten a single complete nights sleep because I woke up because of pain whenever I tried to turn around in bed. Due to the pain and lack of movement in my spine I did not do any physical exercise and my sex life was non existent because it was just too much pain.



In january they finally diagnosed me with AS and sent me to a physioterapist. He helped me make an exercise routine which was very low-key (stretching exercised for back and neck). He also manipulated some movement and after just a few weeks my neck went from zero degree movement to well over 30 degrees. I gradually started to sleep better and around march I had my first complete nights sleep in years.

In the end of April I started to jog and I logged my running in runkeeper. I could only run for a couple of hundred meters before I collapsed. I ran for a few times a week and in June I ran my first 5 km. In August I ran my first 10 km and during August I ran for a total of 80 km.

In June they put me on TNF alpha blockers which hasn't been a wonder cure, but it helps me to be more active. My inflammation has gone down a lot but not completely gone away.

I have gotten my apetite back as I get extremely hungry after working out. I have started to eat better and healthier.

In September I started to lift weights in the gym as I have allways wanted to gain some weight (especially some muscles).

I now work out every day alternating muscle groups and I do my running and finally I am starting to see results in addition to just feeling better on the inside. I also post updates here: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/cst025/



It may sound cliché, but exercising gave me my life back and I couldn't be happier.

I hope my story will be inspirational, especially for other young men who feel down because of AS and health issues. I did not see any light at the end of the tunnel 11 months ago, but now I see a bright future for me.

(Excuse for grammar errors as English isn't my first language)

#272862 - 12/16/15 12:38 AM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: cstavaas]  
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Tranquillity Offline
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Wow, thats an amazing story! Thanks for sharing it. Welcome to the forums too! I'm newly diagnosed too, 34 years old. I've realized that diet and exercise are the keys to manage this disease. I'm joining a gym within the next few weeks and getting back into bodybuilding myself. Keep up the good work.

#272980 - 01/04/16 10:35 AM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: cstavaas]  
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batmanuelAS Offline
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Holy cow that is inspirational.

33 here with some similarities. Diagnosed last year.

Firstly, do you have any spinal fusion?

Can you share more about your routine and diet?

Are there any exercise routines you have purposely stayed away from?

Are you able to stand straighter? I notice I can straighten a bit if I tighten my stomach and back muscles, but since I'm not really in shape I can't maintain that position.

p.s. Your English is fine.

Last edited by batmanuelAS; 01/04/16 10:37 AM. Reason: fusion question
#272981 - 01/04/16 02:31 PM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: cstavaas]  
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WhiteCell Online
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Impressed and happy for you. Thanks for the link.


Starting at 18 yrs old > Reiter's Syndrome. Diagnosed 2001 Ank Spon.
Started Remicade 2002 - 5mg/kg every 7 weeks.

Right Eye Glaucoma- Trabeculectomy/lens replacement 2006.
DSEK Cornea Transplant 2009.
Ahmed Shunt 2016.
DSEK Cornea Transplant 2016.
Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. 2004. Cured by RF ablation 2008.

ICU RN - Seattle, WA

~Grasp The Challenge and Succeed~
#273125 - 01/22/16 01:00 PM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: batmanuelAS]  
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cstavaas Offline
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Originally Posted By: batmanuelAS
Holy cow that is inspirational.
33 here with some similarities. Diagnosed last year.
Firstly, do you have any spinal fusion?
Can you share more about your routine and diet?
Are there any exercise routines you have purposely stayed away from?
Are you able to stand straighter? I notice I can straighten a bit if I tighten my stomach and back muscles, but since I'm not really in shape I can't maintain that position.
p.s. Your English is fine.


Hey! Sorry for the late reply.

I have no signs of spinal fusion, which neither me or my reumatoligist believed (as I was extremely stiff and had almost zero degree rotation in my spine), so I got a 2nd xray, just to confirm the result. My journal says "Columna normal".
I do, however, have fused both ileosacral joints, but that don't bother me that much. Not much movement is lost from that.

My routine is basically: Exercise something every day

Usually my week goes something like this:
day 1: shoulder, arms, chest
day 2: legs, streching exercises
day 3: back (some of these exercises also train biceps) and abs
day 4: only cardio (i run between 6 or 10 kilometers, or take 30 min on a rowing machine)
repeat
On day 1-3 i warm up with 15-20 min of easy jogging.
Around every 2nd or 3rd week I take one or two days off and just go for a walk or something instead.

I usually spend 2 hours a day working out, and I try to take time to relax in the sauna afterwards as it really relaxes my back.

My diet

First of all; I don't feel any difference in eating low-starch or no-starch food.
I eat 5-6 meals a day.
I eat whole grain bread with cheese or meat products, or cereals with fruits and berries, for breakfast.
Lunch is usually a bowl of oatmeal with cottage cheeze and jam or fruit.
Dinner varies greatly, but it's usually fish, vegetables and lentils/beans in some form.
Evening meal is usually either fish (again), often with some whole grain bread, fresh tomatoes and salads and such.
Then I have some in-between meals which are smaller. For example nuts, fruits, vegetables, a plate of caprese (I can sell my body for a good tomato and a piece of mozarella).
I do take extra multi vitamins and I take cod-liver oil (cuz my grandma told me so when I was little smile )

Exercises I have stayed away from:

All exercises which involves lying flat on a bench, as they put to much strain on my back to get the most out of the exercises.

I've learned that everything you can do on a bench, I can do on a cable crosstrainer (or whatever they are called in english). My favorite exercise for my chest is cable crossover:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/cable-crossover

It puts minimal stress on my back. It really works my chest hard. And because I can move the cables at will I can adjust my movement if I feel that my shoulders or back hurt in anyway. I really recommend it to anyone having trouble lying flat on a bench or incline for chest exercises.

Can I stand straighter?

Yes, indeed! I went from looking like a 90 year old crooked-back man to being able to stand up straight. It feels great! blush

#273141 - 01/24/16 12:55 PM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: cstavaas]  
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cstavaas Offline
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I made a side by side comparison. The first two pictures are from summer 2014. I was actually a lot worse around January 2015, but i have no photos from that time as I was so ashamed of my bad posture.
The next 3 photos are from mid december 2015 to January 2016.


#275699 - 08/15/16 03:33 AM Re: How exercise changed my life [Re: cstavaas]  
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Cyclesfemme Offline
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You look Awesome. congrats to finding the secret of movement to battle this disease.
Can I say skal? Is that appropriate? wink

Last edited by Cyclesfemme; 08/15/16 03:47 AM.

AS since 2005 -finally diagnosed in 2011. Gastroparesis since the 90's -finally diagnosed on 2011.

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